Wokingham Today

Lib Dems launch petition in bid to save library


EARLEY Liberal Democrats have launched a petition aimed at saving a popular library.

The Wokingham Paper recently revealed that Maiden Erlegh School, which is an Academy, made the decision to end the lease on its public library, and it will close later this summer.

It wants to use the space to enhance its additional needs provision.

However, the Liberal Democrats said that it wanted to stop the closure.

The alternativ­e is that Wokingham Borough Council should find another site in Lower Earley to house the library.

In a bid to get support for its campaign, it delivered more than 2,400 leaflets to Maiden Erlegh residents last weekend, asking them to sign the petition.

The petition reads: “We the undersigne­d petition Wokingham Borough Council to oppose the proposal to close the public library at Maiden Erlegh School. We call upon Wokingham Borough Council to work with Maiden Erlegh School to find a way to continue the provision of a public library on the Maiden Erlegh School site or to urgently find another suitable site in Maiden Erlegh”.

One of the first to sign was Elaine Spratling, who lives in Moor Copse Close.

She said: “I am very disappoint­ed that the school wants to close the library. Some of us fought very hard years ago to save the library when the council wanted to close it. It’s a much-needed amenity that is used by many residents. We don’t want either the Council or the school to take it away from us.”

And Liberal Democrat activist Tahir Maher said: “Maiden Erlegh School want to close the Library to use the space for offices. Are these extra offices required to facilitate the Schools expansion plans of taking over other schools both in and out of the borough. This is a legitimate question for the people who run the Maiden Erlegh Academy.

“In 2011 Liberal Democrats across the borough obtained over 2,700 signatures to a petition to stop the Conservati­ves selling off our Libraries, which would have led to some being closed.

“After the petition the plans were shelved.

“We can do this again if enough residents back our petition.”

At a recent meeting of the Maiden Erlegh Residents Associatio­n, the committee revealed they had asked Cllr David Chopping, an Earley councillor, about the possibilit­y of using the first floor of the new Tesco store as a library venue.

Their minutes note that Cllr Chopping “was concerned about the likely cost of putting in a lift at Tesco, plus any rent they may wish to charge.

“Cllr Chopping stated that he would asked for the usage figures at the library so that the level of demand could be ascertaine­d.”

Another alternativ­e proposal is a mobile library that the elderly and others who were unable to travel any distance could use.

The Wokingham Paper invited Wokingham Conservati­ves and Maiden Erlegh School to comment, but no response had been received as we went to press.

The Liberal Democrats have placed the petition on their website, www.earleylibd­ems.org.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom